The public are being warned that overhead power lines on the railway between Cumbernauld and Greenhill Lower junction, near Bonnybridge, have gone live carrying 25,000 volts of electricity.
Following the electrification of 46 miles of the main Edinburgh-Glasgow (via Falkirk High) line last autumn as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), the track between Cumbernauld and Bonnybridge is the latest section of Scotland’s railway to be energised.
The electrification of 16 single track kilometres of railway between Cumbernauld and Greenhill Lower is a step towards connecting the line from Glasgow to Falkirk Grahamston to further extend the running of electric trains.
Safety on and around the railway is the responsibility of Network Rail. With the overhead power lines carrying 25,000 volts of electricity, a campaign is underway to highlight the new dangers an electrified railway poses to those who trespass on the tracks or accidentally make contact with overhead lines.
Kevin McClelland, route delivery director for infrastructure projects, said: “Electrification marks a significant change to the railway environment in terms of risk for those living or working near to the newly electrified routes so it is important we do what we can to make people, particularly young people, aware of this change and encourage them to stay safe near the railway.
“Energisation is also an important phase of work to test and validate the new equipment and ensure it is operating as it should ahead of the introduction of electric trains on the route.
“The benefit of electric trains is they will be quieter and accelerate faster than the diesel ones they replace. The overhead power lines we have installed carry 25,000 volts of electricity – enough to kill anyone who comes into contact with them.
“The message is a simple one – electrified lines are always on, so always stay off.”
Around 18,000 safety leaflets being delivered through every door in lineside communities locally and messages have been put out online through social media.
Network Rail has also worked with industry partners in schools and through local groups to take the safety message into the classroom and into the community.
Network Rail has a range of resources is available to highlight the changes in an electrified railway including Rail Life; an initiative aimed at young people which provides teachers and parents with a range of resources on rail safety issues. Further information can be found at Rail Safety Resources
The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) is a central part of the Scottish Government’s strategy to ensure the railway is fit for Scotland’s future, EGIP delivers a 20 per cent reduction in journey times and adds 30 per cent more capacity, on comfortable, efficient and more reliable electric trains.